There's No Place Like Home [Leonidas1789, bucheonman, Maurkov, bzipser, Toliudar]

Layna listens quietly from her place at the far end of the table. In hearing the fate of the party sent to investigate the necromancer she shakes her head in dismay. As the hood continues his disucssion about the mine endeavor Layna seems almost disinterested, until he designates the assignments, at which point a narrowing of her eyes betrays that her attention has been caught. She listens carefully to the questions and discussion of the distant group, now seemingly uninterested in the discussion of the necromancer.
"I'd wager the mine is hardly far way compared to where we are headed," Layna comments to Tobie. "It's only a two week ride to the mine, but it's on the western edge of Merui. I'd be guessing we need to go much further into Merui to find information on the West Merui Trading Company."

Turning to the hooded figure she asks, "For starters where are we headed? River Forge, I'd be gathering for starters? Anywhere else? Are there any safe houses or operatives you can tell us of in Merui? And I gather this is to be a simple," that last word carries heavy weight to it, indicating Layna anticipates thing to be hardly trivial about this mission, "reconnaissance mission. And what "persuading" are we authorized to do?"

What's reconash....reconsa... what that long word ya used mean? I ain't but a simple logger what been learnt by sum special people. Tobie's eyes flashed briefly as she forced her anger down. She reminded herself that these were new people to her, and the word may not have been meant as insult, but she had heard simple used in that tone of voice directed at her too many times in the past to be sure. She remained seated, posture appearing relaxed, but every muscled tensed and ready to move.

Layna grins at Tobie half chuckling at her directness, "Gathering information, and generally doing so without other people realizing you're doing it. Put me in a forest and it'd be simple. Put me in a city and it's a far cry from it," she says with a genuine smile. "It seems nothing we are asked to do is ever as simple as it sounds."

The Hood must have grinned under his garment, for the response he gives to the monk is in a wry, near-chuckling tone. "You were right, of course, Karn."

Turning to Layna, the boss elaborates: "River Forge would be the best place to start; our intelligence indicates that the Astan army hasn't managed to capture it yet, and it's the center of commerce for that nation. You'll be looking for a tavern called Miller's Stone, in the River District; order Imperial Bitters and you'll get all the help that can be offered. As for simple and persuading, you can offer to let them buy their mine back--at a deep discount, even. The fact that we, and not the imperialists, control the facility should hopefully be enough to loosen their tongues. If not, we trust your team to be creatively non-destructive, yet convincing."

Sofia Kinger

Upon hearing that Sikhandyn's team had been annihilated, Sofia had begun to weep silently. Never again would she see her brother Methuselah... With her Order's Head Priestess arrested and her Brethren jailed, the little priestess had hoped to find some comfort in his company after his return. But destiny, it seemed, had decided to inflict yet another blow, yet more pain, on her. Was it all a test of her strength and of her faith? She wondered... yet she quickly dismissed the thought, judging that it was tainted by that human pride so often found in non-Initiates.

Tobie answered Layna with an instantaneous grin of her own, a friendly grin that brightened her eyes and crinkled the freckles on her nose. She listened to what the Boss Hood, as she thought of him, said, and chuckled. Bring summa them old minin' 'n loggin' stories back ta life an' ya got 'em eatin' outta yer hand, she offered sagely. Works ever time.

"I see," Layna responded to the hooded man, blinking the surprise away from her expression. Creatively non-destructive?

After hearing Tobie's suggestion she felt a bit more at ease and grins slyly offering up, "Or we could pit them in a drinking contest with Karn. Might need to make him lose a couple, just to make it seem 'fair'."

"If there are no other questions, We'll leave you in the capable hands of my associate." The Hood stands and sweeps from the room, opening, exiting through, and closing the door in one fluid motion. The brief glimpse into the hall reveals the two bodyguards are still flanking the opening.

The halfling says nothing but raises a single eyebrow as though to invite further questions. A robed lackey enters moments later, carrying small sacks and distributing them to the original party.

Payment!Each of the bags contains 30gp and 30sp. It's a huge sum of money for the adventure. Also, the magical longsword, breastplate, and the special rope from the dragon room are open for the taking. I assumed the greatsword and spellbook were sold since noone expressed a need for them (and the useful parts of the spellbook could be copied).


Eberhart waits till the Hood had departed, then turned to the halfling.

"Well, I guess I got a bunch a questions, but maybe the others here already know the answers, and maybe the group what's going away don't want to stick around for all of it. Well, what the heck. Chime in, anybody what knows the answers.

"What's this necromancer look like? What do we already know about him? Where might we be best to be starting in spying on him? What are we getting paid for this? Is there a bonus for croaking this guy? Do you need prelim reports, case we all bite it like whassisname's team?"

Taking in Sofia's reaction to the news from before, Eberhart looks over at her, wincing.

"Uh, sorry. I didn't mean anything by that."

"Do we report to you? Where do we go to report?"

He shrugs.

"Well, better to ask all this now than to be wondering later."

Astaban listens intently to the questions being asked and the answers being given.

After the Hood leaves, he turns to his group and says, "That provided us with only a small amount of information. It seems like we should develop a reasonable cover story and, if Layna is correct, an extended trip."

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